Vancouver Canucks: Henrik Sedin Will Win the Art Ross Trophy

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Vancouver Canucks: Henrik Sedin Will Win the Art Ross Trophy
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Last year, Daniel Sedin won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL's leading scorer for the 2010-2011 season.

In the 2009-2010 season, his elder (by six minutes) twin brother Henrik won the Art Ross.

The back-to-back Art Ross trophies by teammates marked the first time this has happened in almost 20 years.

Jaromir Jagr (1993-1994) and Mario Lemieux (1994-1995) won the Art Ross in consecutive seasons back during the Super Mario era of the Penguins.

The Penguins collected an amazing seven Art Ross trophies in a row during the dominance of Super Mario and Jagr. Then Jagr left Pittsburgh for greener (or richer at least) pastures, and Lemieux retired.

Since Jagr's last Art Ross in the 2000-2011 season, no single player has won the Art Ross more than once.

Jarome Iginla, Peter Forsberg, Martin St. Louis, Joe Thornton, Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Henrik and Daniel Sedin have all won the scoring race once in this span.

This streak of individual winners is going to fall, as a Sedin will win the Art Ross Trophy in 2011-2012, thereby being the first player since Jagr to win multiple Art Ross Trophies.

Here are the top players in the scoring race right now, along with both their current points, and also their estimated points at the end of the season.

Harry How/Getty Images

Player

Team

Games Played

Current Points

Estimated Points

Henrik Sedin

Canucks

45

52

95

Steven Stamkos

Lightning

43

49

93

 

Daniel Sedin

Canucks

44

49

90

Claude Giroux

Flyers

38

49

101

Phil Kessel

Maple Leafs

43

48

92

Joffrey Lupul

Maple Leafs

43

47

90

The stats are based as of Jan 14th, so they may fluctuate a bit, but everyone has played half a season roughly, so it is a fairly large sample size to even out hot and cold streaks.

I've estimated their final point totals by taking their point per game totals this year and extrapolating it over their team's remaining games. 

 

 

So with this relatively simple estimate, it looks like Claude Giroux will run away with the scoring title.

But it isn't quite that simple. There are a few other factors in play which can muddy the waters a bit.

First, injuries.

The Sedins are durable. They get their points game in and game out, and Henrik Sedin hasn't missed a single game since before the lockout.

Claude Giroux, on the other hand, hasn't really missed any games due to injury until this year, with his infamous concussion from a collision with a teammate. And once you have a concussion, you are at increased risk for another. Any injury, even just a few games, could derail Giroux's bid for the Art Ross.

Injuries are also a reason while Evgeni Malkin, despite being one of the top scorers on a points per game basis, isn't included in the table above. Malkin simply isn't going to play every game in the second half of the season, and has already missed several games already with various injuries.

Second, the quality of the remaining games.

Yes, the Canucks have played the most games in the NHL, and therefore Henrik and Daniel have had a few more games to pick up points. But when you examine the schedule for the second half of the season, a couple things jump out.

Nick Laham/Getty Images

 

The Canucks have an easier schedule for the remaining months of the season than most of the other teams in the NHL.

 

They have already played the most road games in the league, and slightly more than two thirds of their remaining games are at home. Less travel, tired opponents coming into Vancouver and the ability dictate match-ups with the last change all are factors which will help the Sedins rack up their points.

The easier schedule for the Canucks also will help with their health, and getting guys like Sami Salo and David Booth back up to speed and healthy will help the twins by spreading out the defensive focus of opposing teams.

Third, consistency.

When the going gets tough after the All-Star break and playoff teams start to tighten up defensively and bear down, some players (and teams) see their stats drop. 

Steven Stamkos was leading or near the top of the Art Ross and Rocket Richard races last season, until he hit the wall hard in the last months of the season. 

Similarly, the two Maple Leafs (Lupul and Kessel) are part of a team which historically isn't that great in the spring either.

The Sedins may not be the flashiest players in the league, but they are remarkably consistent, picking up their points game in and game out without fail.

Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

 

They actually tend to pick up more points in the second half of the season than the first half, but that may be partly due to the Canucks historic trend of not playing well in October and November.

Canucks fans might remember that Henrik Sedin turned it on to outscore Alex Ovechkin (in Oveckin's last really good season) for the scoring race in the last month of the 2009-2010 season.

 

So you can reasonably expect the twins to pick up their point per game pace over the remaining games of the season, while other players are likely to stay static, or even decrease their point per game pace.

Fourth, synergy.

Call it synergy or chemistry, but simply put, if you play with better players, you get more points.

Whether it is by setting up a goal, or burying a nice pass yourself, players benefit from having more skilled teammates. Also when you have two equally dangerous players, it is harder to shut them both down.

The Sedins are both right at the top of the scoring title, and are almost always in on goals together. There are also the two Maple Leafs who have similar chemistry.

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For Stamkos, the next closest Lightning player in the scoring race is Martin St. Louis at 42nd overall.

Giroux has Scott Hartnell as the next best Flyer at 26th overall.

A modest eight-percent increase in production from Henrik is all that is needed to put his estimated point total at 102 to Giroux's 101. Given the factors I listed above, eight percent is perfectly possible for Henrik to achieve. And that also assumes that Giroux doesn't suffer a decrease in his own production, which seems unlikely as well.

All in all, come April, you can expect to see Henrik Sedin taking home the Art Ross trophy again.

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